30 Sep The hidden mini statues of Budapest
What do a murdered squirrel, a tied-up Lisa Simpson and Hungarian puppet have in common? No, this isn’t some weird riddle; they are all the artistic antics of Mihály Kolodko, a guerilla-sculptor, a Ukranian citizen with Hungarian origins, who was born in the Transcarpathian city of Uzhhorod (Ungvár).
Like Pokemon, his mini statues keep popping up throughout the city, so be on the lookout for the next whimsical installations. We have no idea what Kolodko will think of next but we are excited to find out. In this article, we’re going to look at some of Mihály Kolodko’s prominent mini statues.
Wandering down beautiful tree-lined Falk Miksa Street you wouldn’t expect to come across a murdered squirrel, his body outlined by chalk and his hand clutching a gun.
We don’t exactly know what happened to the furry victim (was it a homicide or suicide? Is the perpetrator still at large?). Lucky enough for the squirrel he was murdered next to the Columbo statue so it’s a case that he’s sure to be able to crack.
The Dead Squirell
Kermit the Frog
If you are wandering along Szabadság Square (Liberty Square) near Parliament you could very well miss Kermit the Frog if you don’t happen to look down. Nestled next to the fence overlooking the square’s café you’ll find this beloved Muppet.
While the statue was created to recognize when frog legs became a Hungarian delicacy in the late 19th century, don’t worry! Kermit is well-loved and not likely to be eaten. If you happen to see him during the winter months, you may find that someone has dressed him in a cozy little scarf (because it can get awfully cold in the snow).
Kermit The Frog
If you grew up in Hungary then you may remember the TV series, “A Nagy Ho-ho-ho Horgász” (“The Big Ho-Ho Angler”) about an oafish fisherman and his bait. It seems only fitting that Kolodko’s first miniature statue would be the show’s character Főkukac, a happy little worm who is no longer bait but instead leads a much better life sitting on the banks of the Danube at Bem Quay 15.
If you’re a fisherman you may want to stop and rub Főkukac’s nose for good luck (it certainly couldn’t hurt, right?).
Many of Kolodko’s guerilla sculptures may be small but they offer a powerful message, including this mini tank, also found near the riverbank on Bem Quay. This tank symbolizes Hungary’s 1956 revolution, as indicated by the bold white letting “Ruszkik Haza!” (“Russian’s go home!”) etched on the side of the tank. While the tank is facing Parliament its gun is facing downward to signify the end of the revoulution.
Ferenc Liszt, the world-famous Hungarian composer, may be gone but he’s certainly not forgotten. In 2011, on the day of Liszt’s 200th birthday, a miniature statue in his likeness was placed at the Terminal 2A bus stop outside the airport. It’s a fitting place for the accomplished world traveler (who can be found sitting on his suitcase), seeing as the airport was named in his honor.
If you were watching Hungarian cartoons in the 70s then you might remember the loveable Mekk Elek, the handyman goat who was endearingly inept. While he tries his hand at many different skills, it seems that Mekk Elek isn’t really cut out for any of them. Luckily, he is cut out to be an adorable mini statue at the foot of the stairs of Széll Kalman Square near the Castle and luckily for all of us, he isn’t doing any repairs.
You’d have to be on the hunt for this mini statue at the Pest entrance of the Chain Bridge in order to find it. Placed between the iron fence posts near the Corso Restaurant lies Libido, a balloon dog and homage to the scandalous artist Jeff Koons who is also known for his balloon animals and inflatable sculptures. Luckily, for this little guy, he’s not made from rubber so he can withstand the city’s elements and not fall prey to mischievous visitors.
Tivadar Herzl was a Jewish Austrian-Hungarian journalist, writer and political activist who became known as the father of modern Zionism. Today you’ll find a tiny sculpture of Herzl with his bike (most likely inspired by a photo taken of Herzl with his bike in Austria) appropriately placed near the iconic Dohány Street Synagogue in the 7th district. On Dohány Street, not too far from his miniature likeness, you’ll find his birth site, which is now the Jewish Museum.
Did you know that this popular puzzle toy is a Hungarian invention? So it should come as no surprise that Kolodko wanted to commemorate the Rubik’s Cube by making it into a miniature statue. While you won’t be able to solve this puzzle you can enjoy its clever craftsmanship by heading to the Buda riverbank near Batthyány Square where you’ll find it opposite Parliament.
If you’re headed to the famous New York Café you’ll find the “key” to the café resting in the hands of a diver at the intersection of Dohány Street and Osvát Street. Legend has it that the Hungarian author Ferenc Molnár tossed the café’s key into the river to prevent it from ever closing. Perhaps Molnár’s outburst worked, as the café is still just as popular today as it was at the turn of the 20th century.